1969 Yenko Camaro - Marching On

Jim Barber And Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists Resurrect A Muscle Car Icon-And We Test It.

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Keith Overby handled putting the body together with all of the needed components, before rolling the shell over to Michael Craig, who handled flanking the sheetmetal with color. Jim went with Hugger Orange, which Craig promptly procured from Dupont's Chroma Premier line. After the brightly colored hue was sprayed on, it was covered with Dupont's Hot Hues clearcoat. Aldine Shelton then came in to apply the Yenko-specific white side and hood stripes (courtesy of Phoenix Graphics), as well as all of the Yenko-only badging. Shelton also installed the chrome trim, as well as the OER hood and grille.

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"We themed the car for a build and delivery date of May '69," Jim says. "Don started out modifying X66 big-block cars, and during that time was playing around with the placement of the badges, the wheel choice, and the headers that were available. The ultimate goal was to build a car that performed as a '69 Yenko Camaro did in '69, or even better. The car even comes with a window sticker and an owner's manual."

When the bodywork was finished, it was time to install the interior components. The car kept the black RS interior trim the Yenko Camaros were known for. CARS employees installed the black-colored interior components, which consist of OER seats, door panels, glass, and steering wheel. Staying true to the Yenko theme, Barber had Stewart-Warner Greenline gauges installed, including the tach as well as the water temp, oil pressure, and volt gauges. Throw in the "sYc" headrest decals, and you will take a ride back to yesteryear each time you slip behind the wheel.

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The original Yenko's claim to fame revolved around the L72 427 that Yenko slung under the hood in his Canonsburg, Pennsylvania dealership. Jim didn't stray from the original specifications, as he threw in a GM 427 crate motor. The 450hp big-block centers around an iron cylinder case, and was built to meet the exact specs of the original powerplant. The Rat features a flat tappet cam with .598-inch lift on both sides, intake duration checking in at 290, and exhaust duration at 298.

The thundering fat-block is topped with a period-correct Holley H4780 800 cfm carburetor, and exhales through ceramic-coated 2-inch headers courtesy of Doug Thorley Headers. A PerTronix ignition lights things off, and an Allen Manufacturing aluminized exhaust system funnels the spent fumes out through the rear-exit tailpipes. All told, the engine is good for 530 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque at the flywheel.

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Nothing other than the M-21 would back this beast. Auto Gear Equipment kicked over the four-speed, which was mated to a Keisler bellhousing that houses a Zoom clutch and pressure plate. Each gear change is made via a Hurst shifter. A Spicer driveshaft runs the power to the Moser-built 12-bolt rear stuffed with 33-spline axles, a C-clip eliminator kit, Eaton Posi, and a set of 4.11 gears.

The suspension remains as Chevrolet designed it back in '69, as all new parts and pieces were installed. The Yenko rides on retooled American Racing Rocket rims shod in Firestone Wide Oval rubber. The Camaro is hauled down thanks to Master Power 11-inch disc brakes up front. "The biggest hurdle was the rear brakes, as we had to make the rear drum backing plates," Jim says.

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